Beyond Your Control
1 / 17 / 3120 Celes Era

“I won’t forget her!  I can’t!”

Lynas looked up at the stern face of his father, fists shaking at his side.  The walls of the royal chamber seemed to disapprove from a distance as the blue and black banners glared at him, reminding him of who and where he was.

“I’m not asking you to forget her,” the king said, skin firm in a temporary manifestation of patience.  “I’m asking you….telling you…to do your duty.  To your kingdom.  And to her.”

“Why we can’t be together?  The Laetal family is noble, pure blooded—and they’re one of the wealthiest—“

“You think I don’t know that?”

Lynas shook.  “I just….I wasn’t unaware of my position.  I know a prince can’t marry a peasant.  But I thought she would be good enough…she is good enough, Father!”

“I know you care for her deeply, Lynas, and that is why I am discussing this with you instead of simply ending it.  Marrying Phoebe Laetel would do Rain little good.  The government already has a steady relationship with her family.  We have to use your powerful position as best we can—“

“I’m not a position.  I’m a person!”

“Calm yourself.  I know what love does to the heart but I will not tolerate rudeness from you.”

Lynas exhaled, gripped the legs of his breeches in his hands.  Words tumbled through his mind but failed to become sentences.

“Lynas, I know you will be angry at me for this, but it must be done.  You will still be able to see her in public, because I cannot afford to insult the Laetels.  But you will not be allowed to meet in private.”

“Father!  Please!  Reconsider!”  Lynas stepped toward his father, hands begging. “Is an arranged marriage really necessary in this day and age?  What’s the harm—“

“It is necessary.  I am doing what is best for Rain—for our people.  And, as future king, that is what you must do as well.”

Tears threatened Lynas’s composure.  His heart ached at the thought of losing her, of never touching her again, never exchanging sweet words as they had so many times before.  I knew I should have gotten permission, he thought, but I didn’t want Father to say no!

“I wish…I wasn’t me.  I wish I wasn’t a prince.  I’m so tired of life deciding for me what I should do—“


“—where I should go, who I should associate with.  I—“

“Lynas.  I too have felt your frustration, when I was your age, and still, sometimes, even now.  But it is the work of men to do their duty without complaint.”

Lynas opened his mouth, but his father raised his hand.

“In every situation, there are things beyond our control.  For a farmer, it’s the weather, pests, the market.  For a knight, it’s the enemy, the ground, the mission.  For a king, it is…the world.  The greater the responsibility, the greater the obstacles, and the less freedom we have to do as we like.”

Lynas shook his head, lowering his fists to squeeze them at his side, helpless.

His father continued.  “…And that is why you must grow accustomed to taking responsibility, for making the hard choices, for committing parts of yourself to the pyre.  We do what must be done…for we are kings.”

Lynas bowed his head, and the air under his eyes became wet as he realized that he would do it.  He would stop seeing her.  Today would be the end of them, the end of their dreams, and the promises they had made.  If his father did not approve, he could not marry her.  And if he could not marry her…he could not lie to her and carry on, knowing it was doomed.  She deserved more than that.

“Can I…can I see her one last time?  To explain all of this to her.”

“I will explain to her father.  He will tell her.”

“No,”  Lynas said.

“No?” his father replied, voice rising.  The threat of his anger made Lynas’s neck shrink into his shoulders, remembering previous altercations.

“I need…I need to take responsibility.  For ending…”   He rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand.  “For ending it.  For hurting her.  For starting all of this and continuing without approval.  You say some things are beyond our control…but, at least, we have control over how we deal with them.”

His father thought a moment.  The room grew so quiet that footsteps from beyond the door filled the air like drums.  Then his face relaxed, a storm receding into the distance.  “It seems my lesson was not lost on you.  Very well then.  You may meet her alone, one last time.”

“...Thank you, Father.”  Lynas ran his kerchief over his eyes, then turned to leave the room, steeling his heart to prevent any more tears from appearing while he walked the halls.

“Lynas?” his father said as he reached the door.  His voice sounded different now.  Quiet.  Lynas had never before heard that tone.

“…Yes?”  Lynas stopped, but did not turn around; though it was disrespectful, he could not face his father again.

“…Never mind.  Go on, boy.”

Lynas paused; then he closed the door behind him, wondering what it was that his father had wanted to say.

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